2017 Alaska Legislative Session Will Cost Taxpayers $3 Million

Published: Jun. 8, 2017 at 9:20 PM AKDT
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The average cost of a special session is $20,000 to $30,000 a day.

Today, we continue our look at costs involving the Alaska State Legislature, and how a longer session can drastically change the amount of money Alaskans pay to create the 2018 state budget.

The Legislative Affairs Agency, or LAA, is in charge of all expenditures in relation to the Alaska State Legislature, ranging from salary to Per Diem.

In a 2014 salary and business expense report by LAA, they reported spending over 1.3 million dollars in Per Diem alone.

That report accounted for 95 days of total session, significantly smaller than the current session that recently hit the 140 day mark.

The agency also pays for relocation expenses. These expenses are to reimburse legislative members that have to travel to and from Juneau. Along with those three payments, the agency also pays for office expenses of legislatures as well as travel expenses.

Travel expenses, compared to relocation expenses, is reimbursed money for approved work-related trips.

During the 2017 special session, Democratic Representative Scott Kawasaki traveled to Fairbanks for an informal public gathering.

Because he was approved to travel to Fairbanks with House Finance funds, LAA will reimburse him for his airfare.

Representative Kawasaki is not alone in this.

As long as its business related, anyone can apply for travel reimbursement.

Unlike Per Diem, Travel expenses and Office expenses can change whether legislature remains in session or not, though Office expenses has a cap $20,000 for Senators and $16,000 for Representatives.

Without counting office expenses, additional travel fees, and the Salary of the legislature, it's going to cost Alaskans nearly 3 million dollars to deal with the 3 billion dollar deficit - maybe more.